Only modern supply chains will work in the age of customer experience

In the digital age, companies need to re-look at their supply chains and make sure they are fit for the future

Updated: Sep 26, 2019 04:50:01 PM UTC
Image: Shutterstock

About 71 percent of consumers in the APAC region shop online, and 76 percent of them customers believe that a company should prioritise customer service. 

One of the biggest challenges that business leaders face is to find ways to deliver a differentiated experience to their customers, so they are now gravitating towards re-designing their supply chain operations, in a bid to make them swift and accurate. In 2018, 94 percent supply chain leaders said that digital transformation has altered the supply chains fundamentally. Businesses that will invest in tools to glean demand insights in real time to shorten the time cycle, optimise the deliveries and predict the demand, will thrive. The rest will be left behind.

The good news is that the region is teeming with innovators who are bringing together the right combination of logistics and ecommerce expertise required to drive the transformation. Where innovations happen, customer experiences always touches new heights.

Supply chain transformation in action
Speedfactory from Adidas is an apt example of hyper-personalising. Carbon, Adidas’ supply chain partner, uses advanced 3D printing technology to fit the shoes with unique soles that were made according to runners’ weight, foot contour and running styles. Not just that, the shoe design takes data pertaining to different cities and thereby changes according to the needs of runners in the exact environment in which they’re running.

Delivering exceptional experience to customers is not exclusive to consumer brands. Bac Ky Logistics, a Vietnamese logistics company, is leveraging automation in scheduling of transportation and delivery, and has enhanced the transparency and speed of service for customers. The company is also using advanced, data driven applications to visualise supply chains in real time. It has helped the organisation to optimise its resources and reduce the number of empty containers.

Digital supply chains
Around the world, organisations are using data to drive innovations, combining data from their back and front offices; those insights are being used to drive product and service development to enable hyper-personalisation and improving efficiencies.

Successful organisations look for a short-term plan with tangible outcomes that start giving benefits quickly and help organisations achieve long term supply-chain goals. Software as a Service as a core, helps organisations integrate data, systems and partners that constitute a supply chain across the enterprise. By virtue, cloud provides agility to back office operations. When combined with artificial intelligence and the Internet of Things, it can transform businesses into intelligent enterprises for further propelling innovation and differentiated customer experience.

Supply chain: Mission critical
Make a start by answering basic questions like how your business will look like in the next five years, and what kind of supply chain capabilities you will need. With the adoption of cloud, organisations are leading the way in making ecommerce faster and more personalised. Some other innovators are creating new business models by using data from manufacturing and post-sales operations. All said and done, the supply chain is mission critical in the digital age and all organisations need to make sure they are fit for the future.

Authors- Rejin Surendran is IT Director Make & Deliver at Unilever & Prasad Rai is Vice President, Application at Oracle.

The thoughts and opinions shared here are of the author.

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